Nunez back in utility role with Nix injured
Considering his career record against Toronto lefthander Ricky Romero, the Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Saturday, Jayson Nix would have been expected to be in the Yankees’ lineup. Nix had 7-for-14 (.500) with a double against Romero. Not only was Nix not in the lineup, he was not even in Toronto.
The Yankees sent Nix back to New York so that he could have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination on a sore left hip flexor which he incurred while playing third base Thursday night on the Rogers Centre artificial surface. Nix played for the Blue Jays last year and had a big year against his former teammates by hitting .353 with five doubles and three RBI in 12 games and 34 at-bats.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi in wanting to give Derek Jeter a day off the turf had to use Eduardo Nunez instead of Nix at shortstop. Girardi indicated to reporters before the game that Nix could be sidelined for some time, which means that Nunez becomes the utility infielder, the role he failed to handle earlier in the season when he was optioned to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Nunez’s erratic defense was behind Girardi’s decision to put Jeter on the field in the sixth inning and thereby losing the designated hitter for the rest of the game, although that is not as much a detriment in September with rosters expanded past the 25-man limit. The bench at this time has no shortage of pinch hitters.
Eric Chavez’s 15th home run of the season in Friday night’s 11-4 victory gave the Yankees nine players with at least that many, which established a franchise record. The others are Curtis Granderson with 40, Robinson Cano 30, Nick Swisher 24, Mark Teixeira 23, Russell Martin 20, Raul Ibanez 18, Alex Rodriguez 18 and Jeter 15. One more home run by Andruw Jones, who has 14, and the Yankees would set a major-league record.
They are currently tied for the big-league mark of nine 15-plus homer hitters with two American League clubs that did it in the 2005 season, the Indians (Travis Hafner 33, Jhonny Peralta 24, Casey Blake 23, Grady Sizemore 22, Victor Martinez 20, Ben Broussard 19, Ronnie Belliard 17, Aaron Boone 16, Coco Crisp 16) and the Rangers (Teixeira 43, Alfonso Soriano 36, David Dellucci 29, Hank Blalock 25, Ken Mensch 25, Michael Young 24, Rod Barajas 21, Gary Matthews Jr. 17, Richard Hidalgo 16).